Dieudonné Mbotolungo (15 years old) in his home in Nambia, an hour's drive north of Niangara hospital in northern DRC. Following his escape from LRA rebels, Dieudonné went through 6 months of regular consultations with Serge Nzuya, MSF's Congolese psychologist. He has made good progress and has now stopped having these consultations.
"I was a rèscapé [escaped from the LRA]. When I was in the bush they beat me, they kept on striking me. And they forced me to carry heavy loads. And this is why I had these visions, these sort of dreams that troubled me. When I started doing the psychological consultations with Serge, all these bad visions that kept coming to me started to go away.
I used to dream that the LRA were following me. Sometimes at night when I slept I had these dreams that the LRA were following me.
Whenever I had these visions, I became frightened. I would remember about how they forced me to kill someone in the forest. When I refused to do it, they heated a machete in the fire and then beat me with it.
After I was captured, we trekked through the forest until we got to a place quite near here. They chose another boy and they bound his hand to mine so that we would walk through the bush together. When they told him to collect water, he said he was exhausted and couldnâ??t do it. They said that since he was refusing to collect water, they would kill him. And that's when they chose me to be the one to kill him. I refused to kill him. And they put the machete in the fire and started to torture me.
Sometimes people did things that the LRA didn't like, and when that happened they would kill the person there and then, on the spot. Or if someone was tired, the LRA would kill them right there. When I saw these things, I kept thinking that it would be me next. My body would start to tremble/shake.
Every time I saw Serge, he talked with me and gave me advice. And this advice has helped me feel less frightened. He gave me a programme with the activities I should do. I used to go there every Wednesday and every Friday."
MSF's emergency medical programme in Niangara includes mental health care to relieve the acute psychological symptoms for adults and children who have suffered highly traumatic experiences. June 2011.